So, everyone knows the first Rule of DMing, right?
“The DM is God and whatever he says is law”
No! Not that one! The first Rule of DMing is actually “Steal Liberally”. What I mean by that is take ideas, repackage them, and distrubute them like they were your own.
(That may or may not be a political joke)
That said, I have consumed every piece of Goblin Slayer media I can get my hands on. It’s awesome, and it’s goblin lore is familiar enough to fit into just about any game, and spicy enough to throw the players back on their heels, and make them really hate goblins.
How you present it is entirely up to you knowing your audience, however. You may remember from my nudity post that my group has a surprisingly hard PG-13 comfortability limit.
I started with a cleric of Pelor asking the players to investigate disappearances in the slums, where they run a soup kitchen for the poor. (Aren’t Pelorites cool like that?) And then they asked around, they found out that it was true. Something had been causing the most vulnerable of them to disappear off the streets at night, women and children.
Then, because players are players, they decided to dress their halfling Cleric up as a child and use him as bait to draw out whatever the problem was, trusting their own power to save him after he was attacked.
It worked, because First Rule of DMing is “Unless the players plan is completely mental, it should work, at least enough to move the plot forward”, and they found them selves dealing with a small gang of goblins in the semi-dark.
As a surprise to me, they put forth the extra effort to take one alive, and to save its own skin, the goblin dutifully lead them into the nearest ambush he could find. (Of course)
Obvious ambush was obvious, and they found themselves at the entrance to a goblin warren of unknown size, the meat of the quest.
I designed the goblin nest like a maze, doubling back and crossing, allowing me to hit them from all sides with goblins simultaneously. The players loved mowing down the little green bastards, and so I kept the heat off.
Here where it got tricky. After working their way into the nest they came across a collection of women, that I described as badly injured, malnourished, dressed only in a loose dress, and all of them very pregnant.
They valiantly fought off another three waves of goblins (the first woman started screaming the moment she was touched, alerting everyone nearby) and carried the women up to the safety of the Temple.
I could see they didn’t make the connection, and left it at that for the moment, until they went back to check on the women later. That’s when I dropped the bomb.
“You realize that so far you have seen no female goblins.”
Three of my players got it immediately. Their faces got hard and there was murmurs around the table advocating goblin genocide. I could see I had managed to elicit the desired emotional response, and had done so without heavy handed shock-horror descriptions.
Amusingly, the most innocent of the players looked around the table confused and said, “I don’t get it.”
I had delivered the punch with enough subtlety that those who were supposed to get it, understood, and those who weren’t supposed to get it, didn’t.
That, my friends, is a good example of how to handle disturbing, normally hard R, content, in an otherwise light hearted game.
And best of all, they had fun.